Insights Daily Current Events, 01 January 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
NDC to be scrapped, NITI Aayog council likely to get its powers
The Union government is all set to scrap the National Development Council (NDC). In this regard, the Cabinet will take up its closure and also pass a resolution for transferring its powers to the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog shortly.
- After getting the Cabinet’s approval, Prime Minister will take up the resolution with the Chief Ministers at a meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog.
- However, there has not been any official announcement yet.
- The National Development Council was set up on 6 August, 1952 by an executive order of the government.
- It served as “the highest decision-making authority” in the country on development matters.
- Initially, it comprised the Prime Minister, the Chief Ministers of all States and the members of the Planning Commission.
- However, the organ was reconstituted on recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commission. Its functions redefined in October, 1967.
- The reconstituted NDC comprised of the Prime Minister, all the Union Cabinet Ministers, the Chief Ministers of all States and Union Territories and the Members of the Planning Commission. The Delhi Administration is represented in the Council by the Lt. Governor and the Chief Executive Councillor, and the remaining Union Territories by their respective Administrators.
- In the reconstituted Council, the Secretary of the Planning Commission acted as Secretary to the NDC.
- So far, 56 meetings of the NDC have been held, the last being on 22nd October 22, 2011 to consider the approach to the 12th Plan.
- One of the most significant of its decisions was the creation (as part of the Gadgil-Mukherjee exercise) of “special category” of States, and the criteria for determining whether a State could receive the status and related financial support from the Centre.
sources: the hindu.
Paper 1 Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
Location too matters for growth
New official data from the 2011 Census have revealed the following information:
Community-wise sex ratio:
- Some communities do better than others in sex ratio.
- On average nationwide, Christians, followed by Muslims, continue to have the most gender-equal child sex ratios of 958 girls for every 1,000 boys and 943 respectively.
- Buddhists follow, with Hindus, Jains and Sikhs, recording the lowest child sex ratios; the numbers for Jains and Sikhs have, however, improved since 2001, while those of all other communities have worsened.
State-wise sex ratios:
The State-wise data shows that communities are not monoliths. In the States with better sex ratios, including the States with high tribal populations and the southern States, the sex ratios of all communities tend to be higher than they are in other States.
- In Kerala Hindus, Muslims and Christians have nearly the same sex ratio among the 0-6 year child population, around 965 girls for every 1,000 boys, which is higher than the national average for each of those communities as well.
- In Haryana, the State with the worst sex ratio, on the other hand, the sex ratios of the child populations of Sikhs, Hindus, Christians and Muslims are all lower than the national average.
- Muslim sex ratios are particularly unaffected by location; while Christian child sex ratios dip below 900 girls for every 1,000 boys in Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab, for instance, the Muslim child sex ratio only falls below 910 in one State: the Muslim-majority Jammu & Kashmir.
- The State which had a far more gender-equal sex ratio of 941 in 2001 has seen one of the sharpest ever declines. Consequently, the sex ratio of the child population of all communities in the State is now below 900, except among Buddhists.
- For the country as a whole, Muslims have the lowest literacy rates for both men and women, while Jains have the highest for both.
- In Kerala the literacy rate among Muslim women (79%) is higher than it is for men of all communities in Bihar.
The child sex ratio is the number of girls aged 0-6 years for every 1,000 boys in the same age group. The child sex ratio for the whole country now stands at 918, dipping further from 927 in 2001, and reaching the lowest level since 1961. These data show that the declining trend of child sex ratio is continuing. It has declined from 927 in 2001 and 976 in 1961. This is also lower than the overall sex ratio of 943. This reflects the persisting gender discrimination despite advancements in various spheres.
sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: e-technology in the aid of farmers.
Soil health card scheme: Centre pulls up U.P.
The Centre has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to speed up efforts to ensure that the benefits of the Soil Health Card scheme reach the farmers in all districts.
- The centre has also asked the State government to monitor the soil health cards scheme at the ‘highest level’ so that its best results could be realised in the interest of the farmers.
- Recently, a performance review of the scheme for various State governments had revealed that U.P. has not been performing to its potential.
- The progress of the Uttar Pradesh government, in issuing soil health cards to farmers, has been sluggish.
About the Soil Health Card Scheme:
It is a scheme to provide every farmer a Soil Health Card in a Mission mode. It is a scheme under which the Central Government provides assistance to State Governments for setting up Soil Testing Laboratories for issuing Soil Health Cards to farmers.
- The scheme will be implemented in all states to promote soil testing services, issue of soil health cards and development of nutrient management practices.
- Under the scheme, State Governments should adopt innovative practices like involvement of agricultural students, NGOs and private sector in soil testing, determining average soil health of villages, etc., to issue Soil Health Cards.
- Under the scheme, the state governments are also required to prepare yearly action plan on the issue and the cost will be shared in the ratio of 75:25 between the Centre and states.
- The scheme assumes importance as the imbalanced application of fertilisers have caused deficiency of primary nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium), secondary nutrients (such as sulphur), and micro-nutrients (boron, zinc, copper etc.) in most parts of country.
- Though a few states like Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh have made progress in soil testing but no uniform norms are followed in the country for soil analysis and distribution of soil health cards. The central scheme aims to address this issue.
Soil Health Cards:
- A Soil Health Card is used to assess the current status of soil health and, when used over time, to determine changes in soil health that are affected by land management.
- A Soil Health Card displays soil health indicators and associated descriptive terms. The indicators are typically based on farmers’ practical experience and knowledge of local natural resources.
- The card lists soil health indicators that can be assessed without the aid of technical or laboratory equipment.
- The card, which will carry crop-wise recommendation of fertilisers required for farm lands, will help farmers identify health of soil and judiciously use soil nutrients.
sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States.
$50-mn loan to fund education of minorities
The Government of India and the World Bank have signed a US $50 million credit for the Nai Manzil scheme.
- Credit will be facilitated by the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm, International Development Association (IDA).
- The loan carries a maturity of 25 years, including a 5-year grace period.
- Interventions under this project will support the Nai Manzil Scheme in improving the employability and performance of minority youth in the labour market.
About Nai Manzil:
The Nai Manzil Scheme is designed as an integrated education and training programme that provides youth from minority communities skills needed for different tasks in a rapidly changing world.
The scheme aims at providing educational intervention by giving the bridge courses to the trainees and getting them Certificates for Class XII and X from distance medium educational system and at the same time also provide them trade basis skill training in 4 courses :
- Soft skills
The scheme is intended to cover people in between 17 to 35 age group from all minority communities as well as Madrasa students. This scheme will also provide avenues for continuing higher education and also open up employment opportunities in the organised sector.
sources: the hindu, pib.
Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
DAVA project wins 2015 eASIA Award
The Department of Commerce’s DAVA (Drug Authentication and Verification Application) project has won the 2015 eASIA Award under Trade Facilitation category as announced by Asia Pacific Council for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (AFACT) in Tehran, Iran.
- The award administered by AFACT aims to promote trade facilitation and electronic business activities in the Asia-Pacific region.
About DAVA project:
The DAVA project is an initiative of Government of India which aims to cover all the drugs manufactured in India. The project has created an integrated platform for implementation of the Track and Trace system both for exports and domestic markets of Drugs and Pharmaceuticals.
- The project will provide simpler means to the consumer and regulatory agencies for establishing drug authentication and protect the India’s Brand image in international trade.
- DAVA application, developed under the project, has value-added features like availability of stocks for a drug in an area/wholesalers/retailers at a point of time; whenever required, drugs can easily be identified and recalled due to traceability of stocks, prevention of black marketing which especially arises during epidemics.
- Presently, it is in the pilot stage and will be subsequently made mandatory for all pharmaceutical exports from India. When fully implemented, the export of fake or spurious drug from the country, will not be possible and in case it happens it would be easily traceable.